Social Constructs! GAH! What is it: “Social constructionism or the social construction of reality (also social concept) is a theory of knowledge in sociology and communication theory that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings of the world.”
WHOA, that’s a lot of words.
It’s the things you *gotta* do, because it is expected of you, because “that is just the way it’s done”.
Some of those things are really right on . . . pay the bills and you still have light, food, water and metal clay supplies.
Some of those things are really twitchy, like . . . gotta have a degree to get a good job; gotta get married and have babies; gotta . . . gotta . . . gotta.
In my world recently, my daughter has been getting her “acceptance” letters for colleges . . . and the not-accepted letters . . . some by email – ah technology of the day. The good news is, she is pondering four “offers”.
Prior to these events, she walked through SAT hell and all the anxiety and self-doubt that went with it. And mommy too – driving her to the test site felt similar to driving her to the gallows.
Why are these moments challenging? Because, the truth of my daughter is not reflected in an SAT or an “acceptance” letter that proves she is somehow more worthy than another child. The truth of my daughter is reflected in the light of her eyes and the joy of her laughter.
Do I sound a little ugly about this? I feel a little ugly about this.
We have lived a roller coaster of: win-lose; happy-sad; devastated-thrilled; scared-emboldened. Her perception of her worth has gotten a little wrapped up in the responses she is getting. She is throwing it off . . . and it is hard . . . ask me how I know.
So being the teen that she is, the off-beat conventions that her mother practices – positive thoughts; dancing when stressed; eating well; sleeping more; carrying around a talisman; taking time for mini-meditations; creating something; HAVING A BUSINESS – well “they don’t work mom!”
I get it. I did the same. Everything my wise mom said, when I was 18, was clearly BS as far as I was concerned.
We she was younger . . . when I was younger, the world seemed so much happier and safer and there was far less of a responsibility factor. As all children get older and more aware, the world seems a bit more daunting and conformity to construct seems easier.
Back in the day, I wasn’t ever allowed to speak the truth to my parents, as I saw it. Every rejection of their constructs was accompanied by passive-aggressive misbehavior I feel super grateful that I have good communication with both my children. We have very little of that hoohaa.
So here I am, this pretty non-traditional mom. I gave up a four year scholarship because I did not want to be a lawyer; I ran away from home when I was 18; I don’t have a college degree; I got married after I found out I was pregnant; I ended my marriage after 24 years; I am committed to being an artist and staying self employed AND I have this crazy notion that special adornments help people and that making things is good for the planet . . . that one person CAN make a difference . . . one person at a time.
She sees, right now, as I did when I was her age: “I gotta do well in school and on all these tests, and then I’ll get into a good school and then I will graduate and have a great job and all will be right with the world.” And she is a bit conflicted.
So with all the changes in the world since I graduated from HS in 1979, all the new technology, all the new thinking . . . we still see racism; homophobia; starving babies; water shortages; intense, divisive, political discord and, a social convention that says: “I gotta do well in school and on all these tests, and then I’ll get into a good school and then I will graduate and have a great job and all will be right with the world.” She is soooo conflicted.
And where does her schism come in? She recognizes that, that isn’t who she is. On some level she knows better, and feels “trapped”. Her fear of breaking from the pack is so overwhelming that she tries to conform. I certainly tried when I was her age and I have subsequently tried to conform, over, and over again. If you feel like you are up against an entire population of conformists . . . what’s a girl to do.
We know better don’t we? We adult people. LOL
My daughter is a powerfully spirited, talented, funny, critical thinking, loyal to her friends, fierce about the “injustices” she sees – young woman. I see the glimmer of resistance and I quietly laud her daily. I secretly put a rune into her backpack and I send her off into the world. Every time I hear her say “NO, that’s not ok”, I scream HUZZAH . . . on the inside. She has to find her way.
Those that have broken from the pack – chosen to step into the courage of a calling deep within their soul – have brought many great things to our world. There are cures we would not have if a scientist had stayed silent or scared. There are technologies that help us in so many ways, that we would not experience if inventors had stayed silent and fearful. Amelia would not have flown . . . Sally Ride would not be the hero we know her to be. President Obama, would not be the first black President of the United staes, had he not overcome the thoughts of conventions. We’ve come a long way baby . . .
So today, I grab my vessel and I remind myself of my intentions . . . to see more peace, to see more love . . . be more peace and be more love. And as I hold my vessel pretty tightly in my grasp, I wonder what she will become when she breaks from the pack.
Make something everyday . . . even if it’s trouble.